The Gulf emirate of Dubai unveiled passenger operations atits Al-Maktoum International airport, which is touted to be the world’s largest airport once completed.
A Wizz Air plane from Budapest was the first passenger aircraft to land at the sprawling new facility and Jazeera Airways would follow suit on Thursday while Gulf Air will begin operations on December 8.
The airport opened in June 2010 with a single runway, but was only used by cargo planes until Sunday. So far just six airlines -- Condor, Gulf Air, Jazeera Airways, Qatar Airways, Wizz Air and Wizz Air Ukraine -- have signed up to use the airport, but it is hoped that it will one day handle up to 160 million passengers a year. The $32 billion airport will have five runways when it is completed.
“There is a lot of pressure to get the airport running,” said Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths at the inauguration ceremony. “Its ambition is to be the world’s largest airport and the world’s largest hub.”
The busiest airport in the world is currently Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, which handled more than 95 million passengers in 2012.
It is followed by Beijing Capital International (82 million), London Heathrow (70 million) and Tokyo International (67.8 million). Chairman of Dubai Airports, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum said that the airport will play a vital role in the future development of Dubai as a centre for trade, commerce, transport, logistics and tourism.